Sunday, April 5, 2020

My Favorite Things of the Week (Ending April 4, 2020)

I know it has been quite a while since I've really posted anything. I will admit that I find it difficult to focus on this, work, and leisure activities. I don't know if I'll ever be able to get back to the pace of posting from my early blogging days, but I will try to check in and post something new every once in a while.

I am maintaining my Upcoming Releases page, check it out here!

Self-isolation seems to have become a creativity boom for many artists, and has led to a large number of new covers. Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie has been posting frequent home concerts with dedicated covers sessions, and Ty Segall recorded an EP of Harry Nilsson covers. The stand-out for the past week, however, is a genre-bending cover of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" from Amber Mark.

Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy continued their musical partnership this week with a new song, "All in It Together." While available on streaming services, the track is also available for purchase. Proceeds of any purchases will go to My Block, My Hood, My City, which is a non-profit dedicated to helping seniors in Chicago deal with the current coronavirus pandemic. The track can be purchased here.

Fiona Apple has about a six-year album cycle. She released her last record, The Idler Wheel..., in 2012, so we have been a bit overdue for a follow-up. That record is easily one of my favorites from the past decade, and I was overjoyed when she announced Fetch the Bolt Cutters. We don't have to wait long either, the album will be released on April 17!

Also announced this week:

Art Feynman - Half Price at 3:30 (June 26)
Disheveled Cuss - Disheveled Cuss (June 12)
Field Report - Brake Light Red Tide (April 28)
Guided By Voices - Alien Lanes Reissue (August 21)
Headie One and Fred again.. - GANG (out now)
John Carroll Kirby - Conflict (out now)
July Talk - Pray for It (July 10)
Kilo - Maybe We Could (July 17)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Chunky Shrapnel (April 17)
The Memories - Pickles & Pies (May 29)
Mountain Time - Music for Looking Animals (June 26)
The National - High Violet: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (June 19)
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Sideways to New Italy (June 5)
serpentwithfeet - Apparition (April 24)
Trickfinger - She Smiles Because She Presses the Button (June 3)

Saturday, February 15, 2020

My Favorite Albums of 2019

20. Anna Meredith - FIBS

Watch: "Sawbones"
Watch: "Inhale Exhale"
Watch: "Paramour"

19. James Blake - Assume Form

Watch: "I'll Come Too"
Watch: "Can’t Believe the Way We Flow"
Watch: "Barefoot in the Park" (featuring ROSALÍA)

18. Wand - Laughing Matter

Watch: "Scarecrow"
Watch: "Rio Grande"
Watch: "Walkie Talkie"

17. Lizzo - Cuz I Love You

Watch: "Cuz I Love You"
Watch: "Good as Hell"
Watch: "Tempo" (featuring Missy Elliott)

16. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

Watch: "Jupiter 4"
Watch: "No One’s Easy to Love"
Watch: "Seventeen"

15. The New Pornographers - In the Morse Code of Brake Lights

Watch: "Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile"
Watch: "The Surprise Knock"

14. Priests - The Seduction of Kansas

Watch: "Good Time Charlie"
Watch: "Jesus’ Son"

13. Denzel Curry - ZUU

Watch: "RICKY"

12. Aldous Harding - Designer

Watch: "Zoo Eyes"
Watch: "The Barrel"

Watch: "Fixture Picture"

11. Deerhunter - Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?

Watch: "Timebends"
Watch: "Death in Midsummer"

10. Charly Bliss - Young Enough

The pop-punk of the 90s is probably one of my least favorite styles of music. I would not have thought that a throwback to that sound would become one of my favorites for the year, but Charly Bliss found a way to elevate the sound above what preceded it over two decades ago.

Watch: "Young Enough"
Watch: "Hard to Believe"
Watch: "Chatroom"

9. Angel Olsen - All Mirrors

I accidentally pre-ordered two copies of this album when it was announced last year. The strength of her music convinced a friend who had never heard her before to take the second copy. Angel Olsen's music has always had a cinematic quality to it, but she takes it to a new level with her fourth album.

Watch: "Lark"
Watch: "All Mirrors"

8. Vagabon - Vagabon

There's a gorgeous synth melody underscoring "Water Me Down." The earworm was the major element that drew me into Vagabon's second album. Of course, every moment of every track is great!

Watch: "Every Woman"
Watch: "Water Me Down"
Watch: "Flood"

7. FKA twigs - MAGDALENE

FKA twigs videos are just as important an element as the lyrics or music in telling the stories her songs convey. It's one way that she's able to express pain, both physical and emotional, in a way that seems almost sensual. Like with her debut, her sound is a mix of just about everything style out there, but this time through is a much more emotional journey.

Watch: "home with you"
Watch: "holy terrain" (featuring Future)
Watch: "cellophane"

6. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride

I was skeptical about the future of this band when it was announced that founding member Rostam Batmanglij would be leaving. The release of their fourth album removed those concerns. It the largest shift in their sound, certainly, but a number of well-used collaborations with the likes of HAIM and Steve Lacy, as well as Rostam's continued involvement (just not as a band member), make it an amazing listen.

Watch: "This Life"
Watch: "Sunflower" (featuring Steve Lacy)
Watch: "Harmony Hall"

5. Solange - When I Get Home

It still amazes me to think of the cultural forces that both of the Knowles sisters have become. Certainly, Beyoncé has the ear of the masses, but Solange has stood out with a more low-key sound. She produces a sound that evokes jazz while being rooted in old-school R&B, and has followed up one amazing record with another.

Watch: "Almeda"
Watch: "Binz"

4. Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel

There is little I love more than rock sung in a heavy accent, and this Dublin-based band definitely delivers on that. The stand-out track on their debut is its opener, "Big," a short-burst of a punk track with an aspirational feel.

Watch: "Sha Sha Sha"
Watch: "Roy’s Tune"
Watch: "Big"

3. Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell!

Over her past few albums, Lana Del Rey has easily disproven much of the skepticism that seemed to surround her early in her career. Her cover of Sublime's "Doin' Time" alone could be enough to position this album as one of my favorites, but excellent writing and an underscoring sense of California cool seal its position.

Watch: "Doin’ Time"
Watch: "Fuck It I Love You"/"The Greatest"
Watch: "Venice Bitch"

2. Brutus - Nest

An incredible live video for album track "War" initially drew me into this Belgium band. They have a kick-ass lead singer, who also serves as the band's drummer. While I don't use my car very often, this album was my go-to driving record through the first few months of the year.

Watch: "Cemetery"
Listen: "War"

1. Jamila Woods - LEGACY! LEGACY!

Jamila Woods came onto my radar as a guest vocalist on Chance The Rapper's "Sunday Candy." It wasn't long after that I began to notice her solo work, starting with her debut album, Heavn. With her sophomore record, she moves into a new level among my favorite artists, with a work that honors generations of black creators that came before.

Watch: "BALDWIN"
Watch: "ZORA"

Saturday, January 11, 2020

New Music Friday - October 12, 2018

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Anna St. Louis - If Only There Was a River

Watch: "Understand"
Listen: "The Bells"                                                                                                                                                                      

Belly - Immigrant

Watch: "What You Want" (featuring The Weeknd)
Watch: "Xion"                                                                                                                                                                                          

Ella Mai - Ella Mai

Watch: "Boo’d Up"
Watch: "Trip"                                                                                                                                                                  

The Watson Twins - DUO

Watch: "Hustle and Shake"
Listen: "Playing Hearts"                                                                                                                                    

Other Full-Length Releases

Calvin Johnson - A Wonderful Beast

Watch: "Like You Do"
Listen: "Kiss Me Sweetly"

The Dodos - Certainty Waves

Watch: "SW3"
Watch: "Forum"

Elvis Costello & The Imposters - Look Now

Watch: "Unwanted Number"
Watch: "Under Lime"

Kurt Vile - Bottle It In

Watch: "Bassackwards"
Watch: "Loading Zones"

Matthew Dear - Bunny

Watch: "Bunny's Dream"
Listen: "Horses" (featuring Tegan and Sara)

Tom Morello - The Atlas Underground

Watch: "We Don’t Need You" (featuring Vic Mensa)
Watch: "Lead Poisoning" (featuring GZA, RZA, & Herobust)

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Barrie - Singles

Listen: "Michigan"
Listen: "Canyons"

Bloc Party - Silent Alarm Vinyl Reissue

Watch: "So Here We Are"
Listen: "Positive Tension"

Dave Davies - Decade

Listen: "Cradle to the Grave"
Listen: "Same Old Blues"

David Bowie - Loving the Alien (1983 - 1988)

Watch: "Loving the Alien"
Listen: "Zeroes"

Django Django - Winter’s Beach

Watch: "Swimming at Night"
Listen: "Winter’s Beach"

Eric Clapton - Happy Xmas

Watch: "White Christmas"
Watch: "For Love on Christmas Day"

Flat Worms - "The Apparition"/"Melt the Arms"

Watch: "The Apparition"
Listen: "Melt the Arms"

Fleetwood Mac - The Dance Reissue

Listen: "Rhiannon"
Listen: "I’m So Afraid"

Fleetwood Mac - Say You Will Reissue

Watch: "Say You Will"
Listen: "Destiny Rules"

Los Campesinos! - Hold on Now, Youngster…

Watch: "You! Me! Dancing!"
Watch: "Death to Los Campesinos!"

Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

Listen: "We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed"
Listen: "Miserabilia"

The Monkees - Christmas Party

Watch: "The Christmas Song"
Listen: "Christmas Party"

St. Vincent - MassEducation

Watch: "Savior" (piano version)
Listen: "Slow Slow Disco"

Sunday, December 15, 2019

My Favorite Things of the Week

Good news from the world of '90s alternative rock, John Frusciante is rejoining the Red Hot Chili Peppers! Frusciante has been the on-again-off-again as the guitarist for the group, last leaving the band in 2009. He was replaced by Josh Klinghoffer, who is now departing. I'm excited to see what their next album will sound like with the iconic guitarist back in the fold!

As always, keep an eye on my Upcoming Releases page for new music that I'm excited about!

Lizzo has released several music videos for tracks from her third album, Cuz I Love You. Though she previously released a video for "Good as Hell," she released another video for the track this week. This video sees her joining up with the Southern University marching band in multiple roles; including bandleader, flutist, and dancer. The video brought out some real marching band nostalgia for me!

As beloved an artist as Frank Ocean is, I've heard surprisingly few covers from his contemporaries. This week, Nilüfer Yanya offered her take on "Super Rich Kids," for Triple J's Like a Version series.

Greg Dulli will be releasing a new solo album early next year, and released the album's first single, "Pantomima." The song bodes well for a great album from the artist!

The next album from The Flaming Lips will be a collaborative album with Deap Vally.

The two bands have formed a new group, called Deap Lips, and will release a self-titled album on March 13. The collaboration is one that is both surprising, and perfectly sensical.

Other upcoming albums:

Alanis Morissette - Such Pretty Forks in the Road (May 1)
Brian Fallon - Local Honey (March 27)
Caribou - Suddenly (February 28)
Cindy Lee - What’s Tonight to Eternity (February 14)
Dirty Projectors - Sing the Melody (out now)
Greg Dulli - Random Desire (February 21)
Halsey - Manic (January 17)
Kaytranada - BUBBA (out now)
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges - Texas Sun (February 7)
M. Ward - Migration Stories (April 3)
The Professionals - The Professionals (January 17)
Swamp Dogg - Sorry You Couldn’t Make It (March 6)
Wrekmeister Harmonies - We Love to Look at the Carnage (February 21)

Saturday, December 7, 2019

My Favorite Things of the Week

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We spent it, as usual, visiting family in North Carolina. New music tends to slow down during holiday weeks, but here are some of the things I've found recently and love!

I don't have a favorite cover this week, but instead a remix. Jlin is an IDM and electronic music artist from Indiana, known for a percussion-heavy, rhythmic sound. She has brought that sound to St. Vincent's "Smoking Section," from her most recent album.

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib released a collaborative album, Bandana, back in June. They've released numerous music videos for tracks from the album, most revolving around a drug lord character played by Gibbs. In the latest, for "Gat Damn," he plays a cantankerous 80s-style R&B frontman. What amuses me most about the video is the fictional band's violinist; whether intentional or not, I get a kick out of how he holds the instrument.

Dan Bejar sat out the most recent albums from The New Pornographers but will be returning with a new album from Destroyer in January. He has already released one new song, "Crimson Tide," from the album and returned last week with "It Just Doesn't Happen."

Stormzy announced a new album!

He is a grime and hip hop artist from London. He developed an appeal far beyond his home country with his debut album, 2017's Gang Signs & Prayer. After releasing a handful of songs, he recently announced his follow-up, Heavy Is the Head, which is set for release on December 13.

Some more albums to get excited about!

Avey Tare - Conference of Birds/Birds in Disguise (December 5)
Max Bloom - “Bottle” (out now)
Morrissey - I Am Not a Dog on a Chain (March)
Nada Surf - Never Not Together (February 7)
Nicolas Godin - Concrete and Glass (January 24)
Rebecca Foon - Waxing Moon (February 21)
Selena Gomez - TBA (January 10)
The Turning (Original Music Picture Soundtrack) (January 24)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

New Music Friday - August 31, 2018

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Anna Calvi - Hunter

Watch: "Don’t Beat the Girl out of My Boy"
Watch: "Hunter"
Watch: "As a Man"                                                                                                                                                                      

Madeleine Peyroux - Anthem

Watch: "On My Own"
Watch: "We Might as Well Dance"                                                                                                                  

Saintseneca - Pillar of Na

Watch: "Ladder to the Sun"
Listen: "Beast in the Garden"                                                                                                                

Tash Sultana - Flow State

Watch: "Salvation"
Watch: "Blackbird"
Watch: "Free Mind"
Watch: "Cigarettes"                                                                                                                                             

Troye Sivan - Bloom

Watch: "Dance to This" (featuring Ariana Grande)
Watch: "Bloom"
Watch: "Lucky Strike"
Watch: "My My My!"                                                                                                                                                               

Other Full-Length Releases

Big Red Machine - Big Red Machine

Watch: "Forest Green"
Watch: "I Won’t Run from It"

Watch: "Gratitude"

D+ - Destroy Before Listening

House of Feelings - New Lows

Listen: "Touchscreen" (featuring Meredith Graves)
Listen: "Shout"

The Kooks - Let’s Go Sunshine

Watch: "All the Time"
Watch: "Four Leaf Clover"

Watch: "No Pressure"
Watch: "Chicken Bone"

Mass Gothic - I’ve Tortured You Long Enough

Watch: "J.Z.O.K."
Watch: "How I Love You"

Watch: "Keep on Dying"
Watch: "Dark Window"

Muncie Girls - Fixed Ideals

Watch: "Locked Up"
Watch: "Clinic"

Watch: "Picture of Health"

Thou - Magus

Watch: "The Changeling Prince"
Listen: "Inward"

Wild Nothing - Indigo

Watch: "Letting Go"
Listen: "Canyon on Fire"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Babygirl - Lovers Fevers

Watch: "Soft"
Listen: "Over in No Time"

The Band - Music from the Big Pink - 50th Anniversary

Listen: "This Wheel’s on Fire"
Listen: "The Weight"

Depeche Mode - Speak & Spell Singles Collection

The Highwaymen - Highwayman Reissue

Watch: "Highwayman"
Listen: "The Last Cowboy Song"

Iron & Wine - Weed Garden

Listen: "Waves of Galveston"
Listen: "What Hurts Worse"

Justice - Woman Worldwide

Watch: "Love S.O.S."
Listen: "Randy"

KIN: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Listen: Mogwai - "We’re Not Done"
Listen: Mogwai - "Donuts"

King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller

Listen: Kacey Musgraves - "Kansas City Star"
Listen: Loretta Lynn - "Half a Mind"

Paul Simon - One Trick Pony Reissue

Listen: "One Trick Pony"
Listen: "Late in the Evening"

Paul Simon - The Rhythm of the Saints

Watch: "Obvious Child"
Listen: "The Rhythm of the Saints"

Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche Vinyl Reissue

Listen: "The Avalanche"
Listen: "Chicago" (Adult Contemporary version)